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Florida Family Law Recent Legal Answers from Lawyers

Florida Family Law Recent Legal Answers from Lawyers
Thank you for your question.  You should be able to reach some written agreement with the mother to have the child with you for at least part of the summer.  If she flatly refuses to let you have time with the child, you will need to initiate a paternity case in Florida where the child lives, and ask the court for a Parenting Plan which is signed by both of you and sets timesharing going forward. (In the paternity case the judge will formally determine that you are the father, will set child support, will give you equal parental rights to make decisions for the child, and will set your timesharing schedule.)  Alternatively, you may wish to use the services of either a certified family mediator or qualified Parenting Coordinator who are both trained to help you create a go-forward Parenting Plan. You can do this even before a paternity suit is filed or, if not, have the court handling your case appoint either a mediator or Parenting Coordinator (preferably). Your issues should resolve there.  If not, the court will enter an order setting the timesharing for you and the child. Good luck! - David B. Mitchell, Esq. www.davidbmitchell.com... Read More
Thank you for your question.  You should be able to reach some written agreement with the mother to have the child with you for at least part... Read More
Thank you for your question I am sorry you are having this ongoing difficulty with your ex-husband.  Fortunately, your situation can be remedied. If the court has ordered your husband to pay $600 per month until the loan modification is complete, which loan modification is still incomplete, that money is due and owing. You need to have your attorney file a two-prong motion with the court: A Motion to Enforce to compel the refinancing joined with a Motion for Contempt directed to the unpaid alimony, assuming he still has the present ability to pay it. Set it for an evidentiary hearing. Your lawyer may want to depose your ex in advance of the hearing to see what excuse he will offer the court and prepare to counter it. You should also ask for your attorney’s fees and costs to be reimbursed to you as you are enforcing the court’s existing order.   Good luck!  ... Read More
Thank you for your question I am sorry you are having this ongoing difficulty with your ex-husband.  Fortunately, your situation can be... Read More

how do I legitimize my daughter she is 26 yrs. old

Answered a month ago by attorney David B. Mitchell   |   1 Answer   |  Legal Topics: Family Law
Thank you for your question. By ‘legitimize’ I assume you mean ‘how do you establish your paternity of your daughter’. Perhaps this is for immigration purposes to permit your daughter to immigrate to the US or to have a US passport. I am also assuming your daughter was born out of wedlock and that your paternity of your daughter has not been previously established.  You can file a petition to establish paternity for your daughter in Florida where you reside. If the mother and daughter agree, you can file it as an uncontested petition with everyone co-signing the petition itself. Then, once filed you can set the case for an uncontested final hearing. As she is an adult (and assuming she is not mentally disabled or otherwise not emancipated), your daughter  can join the petition. This should not be difficult.  Of course, if she is married her husband should be made aware of your action.    Good luck.... Read More
Thank you for your question. By ‘legitimize’ I assume you mean ‘how do you establish your paternity of your daughter’.... Read More
Thank you for your question.  You didn’t provide any information as to why your nephew wants to emancipate and that may be important. (Ex.: Does he want to marry, joint the military, sign contracts, etc.?)  However, I will help you as much as I can. To begin, moving in with his grandmother has no bearing on his becoming emancipated. There is no ‘plan’ when one is emancipated - an emancipated person is free to live wherever he or she is welcome as would be true for any other legal adult. Once emancipated, he is legally caabe of signing a lease to rent his living quarters. However, be careful in the use of the word ‘dependent’. If you are asking if the grandmother can declare your nephew as a dependent for tax deduction purposes, she will need to consult with her tax professional. The Internal Revenue Code has very stringent rules as to who can declare someone as a ‘dependent’ for tax purposes. Finally, regarding his driver license he is still subject to the Florida driver license law. If he only has a learner’s permit, he will still to have another adult accompany him per the existing law regardless of his emancipation. Once he has his full driver license, he should be OK. I hope this helps, and best wishes to your nephew... Read More
Thank you for your question.  You didn’t provide any information as to why your nephew wants to emancipate and that may be important.... Read More
If there has been a request to modify child support filed with the court and you have been served with the petition, then you are obligated under Rule 12.285 to provide certain financial documents.  I would suggest consulting with an attorney to determine the potential financial obligation as it souds as if your financial situation has changed enough that there is a belief that you can contribute to your son's support. ... Read More
If there has been a request to modify child support filed with the court and you have been served with the petition, then you are obligated under... Read More
No - POA must be used only for the benefit and support of the person who signed the POA - NOT for any other purposes, unless the language of the POA gives you other directives.  
No - POA must be used only for the benefit and support of the person who signed the POA - NOT for any other purposes, unless the language of the POA... Read More
   Ms. Humphrey:          If the court documents were executed in TExas, then you should contact a Texas attorney to see  what can be done.       Best of luck, Cindy Vova Law Offices of Cindy S. Vova, P.A. Broward/Boca Raton 954-316-3496/561-962-2785... Read More
   Ms. Humphrey:          If the court documents were executed in TExas, then you should contact a... Read More
There is a formal process under Florida statute for Guardianship.  The doctor does not delcare someone legally incompetent on his own - the Court does thorugh an examining committee.  Please call an eldr layers or call me, if you are in Polk County. 
There is a formal process under Florida statute for Guardianship.  The doctor does not delcare someone legally incompetent on his own - the... Read More

i would like to sue for custody of my children

Answered 2 months ago by attorney Cindy S. Vova   |   1 Answer   |  Legal Topics: Family Law
Ms. WIlson:     Once a judge takes your rights to your children away it is a difficult process to try and change this result.  You don't say when this happened (i.e.: if there is still time to appeal); whether this is temporary; whether this was in a dependency proceeding or family court, to just name a few questions that would need preliminary answers.    This is most likely a question that transcends answering in this forum.   This is a situation where a consultation with an attorney in your area would most likely be your best bet to see if and when you can try to see your children again.   Best of luck to you.   Cindy S. Vova Law Offices of Cindy S. Vova, P.A. Broward/Boca Raton 954-316-3496/561-962-2785  ... Read More
Ms. WIlson:     Once a judge takes your rights to your children away it is a difficult process to try and change this result.  You... Read More

Can I go pick up my daughter without any issues from the law?

Answered 3 months ago by attorney Heather Cherepkai   |   1 Answer   |  Legal Topics: Family Law
If you have an open investigation then DCF can keep you in Florida, but if there is no open case or any investigator contacting you then you should be free to leave the state with your daughter and if DCF has any issue then they may verify that your daughter is safe through Alabama's social services. ... Read More
If you have an open investigation then DCF can keep you in Florida, but if there is no open case or any investigator contacting you then you should... Read More
Yes, the judge in the Dependency Court has the authority to do soif the court determines that this is in the best interest of the children. The mother (your girlfriend) can appeal the court's decision but if there is substantial, competent evidence at the hearing to support the judge's decision, it will stand. ... Read More
Yes, the judge in the Dependency Court has the authority to do soif the court determines that this is in the best interest of the children. The... Read More
Dear Mr. Briggs:       Under Florida law, alimony is based on the need of one party to receive it and the ability of the other party to pay.  Since your wife has been gone over five years, and presumably has not received support from you during that time (although you do not say one way or the other) there is certainly a strong argument that she does not have a need for alimony.    Also, you indicate that your are retired from the military, and if you are also retired and of "retirmeent" age,  if you are depending on your military pension for your income, then you may not (after dividing it with her) have an ability to pay alimony, even if she has a need.    These are just general parameters.  There is no hard and fast  correct answer to your questions, and you should consult with an attorney who could review more of the facts of your specific case and guide you accordingly.   If you are in the South Florida area feel free to contact our office. Best of luck, Cindy S. Vova Law Offices of Cindy S. Vova, P.A. Broward/Boca/Miami-Dade 954-316-3496  ... Read More
Dear Mr. Briggs:       Under Florida law, alimony is based on the need of one party to receive it and the ability of the... Read More
Thank you for your question. You can create an addendum to the prenuptial agremeent to reflect the change in circumstances surrounding the agreement's teatrment of the house you were to get in the event of divorce. You will need to have a brief session with an attonrey in the family law field as you need sufficient consideration (i.e., something for whcih both parteis have bargained) in order to support a substnatial change in the existing prenuptial agrement.  So, the language will be implortant as well as proper exectuion of the new agreement.  This is not complicated but must be done properly. In the event of a divorce, spouses will look for any flaw to set aside a post-nup. Good luck and enjoy North Carolina!... Read More
Thank you for your question. You can create an addendum to the prenuptial agremeent to reflect the change in circumstances surrounding the... Read More
I'm sorry you're having this problem with your husband in the middle of this divorce case. I assume that you and perhaps your usband are representing yourselves in this case. If you did not sign the 'pencil-filled draft agreement' you sent to your husband, it is of no effect. He can notarize his signature and send it to court but without you signing it as ell, the judge will not accept it as a final settlement. If there are suspected hidden assets or you have property issues of significance (real property, the marital home, pensions, overseas accounts, etc.), you really need some legal advice from a competent family law attorney. You should see from this experience that divorce is not alwasys simple and easy to handle by yourself. A good lawyer will know how to send discovery (i.e., formal requests for documents) to your husbnd to get a omplete financial picture Only then should a settlement agreement be prepared for consideration by both partieis. If it still won't sette, you can try court-ordered mediation to settle your case. Good luck!... Read More
I'm sorry you're having this problem with your husband in the middle of this divorce case. I assume that you and perhaps your usband are representing... Read More
  Generally, Federal law preempts state law in the area of military retirement pay and its division. For example, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act ('USFSPA') may cover the right of a state court to deal with alimony issues in divorce cases. I regret that you did not avail yourself of divorce counsel knowledgeable about military divorce law prior to or at your mediation. Now that the final judgment has presumably been entered and you are in pay status under your military retirement, you need to locate and speak with a divorce lawyer with knowledge of the USFSPA as soon as possible. It is a complex are a of law quite apart from Florida law and requires specialized knowledge. Please do not delay. For any attorneys reading this answer, please refer to The Military Divorce Handbook: A Practical Guide to Representing Military Personnel and Their Families by Mark E. Sullivan published by the ABA. It's the 'bible' for military divorce cases. ... Read More
  Generally, Federal law preempts state law in the area of military retirement pay and its division. For example, the Uniformed Services Former... Read More
I am sorry you're experiencing this much difficulty with the father of your sons.  If he does not want to go to counseling, you have one of two choices: Continue with this impasse over parenting or seek court relief. You cannot have a guardian ad litem appointed unless there is an open court matter. You can both agree to see a parenting coordinator ("PC") to help with the timesharing issues and the other issues as well, but again, only if both agree to go to the coordinator or the court orders it.  Since the lack of compliance with the timesharing is a way to get a court's attention, you may try filing a Motion for Contempt relating to the timesharing and then ask the judge to refer you both to a parenting coordinator. I have been a PC for over three or four years and court-appointments are the way to go.  Again, both of you can agree to go to a PC if you wish. I hope he will ‘see reason' for the best interest of the boys and go to the parenting coordinator.  If not, the court can assist you. - David B. Mitchell, Esq., Coral Gables, Florida... Read More
I am sorry you're experiencing this much difficulty with the father of your sons.  If he does not want to go to counseling, you have one of two... Read More
  Your situation is unfortunately not unusual with parents dividing time with their children.  You have a two-part question. First, your court order controls all questions of custody and timesharing runless and until a court rules otherwise. As your son is 15, it is likely the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to interview all concerned and make a recommendation to the court as to where the child should primarily reside - with father or mother. A 15 year-old's wishes may carry great weight for the court if the judge determines that the wishes are in the best interest of the child. At 15, his age presumes a sufficient maturity to give a knowledgeable opinion on preference. Now, as both of you have different parenting styles and disciplinary approaches which seem to be at the heart of your issues, before anyone returns to court I would recommend both parents seek the assistance of a Qualified Parenting Coordinator to assist you both. (Florida law provides specifice training requirements to become a Qualified Parenting Coordinator.)  If the situation merits a more intensive assistant, you both may wish to seek family counseling to reconcile your competing philosophies on parenting styles.  This may even avoid the need to return to court.  Good luck to you both and the child.  ... Read More
  Your situation is unfortunately not unusual with parents dividing time with their children.  You have a two-part question. First, your... Read More
I am sorry you are having these problems with the father.  However, you are in a good position to get the relief you need. Your court order is the  'blueprint' or guidelines for all matters relating to custody and timesharing (visitation) between the father and your child. If he is blocking your timesharing by taking the child from you without permission, then you can return to court to enforce your rights. On your other question, the preference of the child as to which parent with whom the child wishes to live is only one factor in the court's decision to change custody. That depends on the age and maturity of the child, the reason for the preference and, ultimately, what is in the best interest of the child. If this involves a very young child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to interview all involved and make a recommendation to the court. If the child is older (16 and above, typically), the preference of the child may be the key factor.  ... Read More
I am sorry you are having these problems with the father.  However, you are in a good position to get the relief you need. Your court order is... Read More
You cannot give your children away.  They have a right to have and be supported by both parents.  
You cannot give your children away.  They have a right to have and be supported by both parents.  

Can I use a judical bypass to get married without parental consent ?

Answered 4 months ago by attorney Lynn W. Rhodes   |   2 Answers   |  Legal Topics: Family Law
As a grandmother myself, I would say, listen to your Mother and wait until you are 18.  
As a grandmother myself, I would say, listen to your Mother and wait until you are 18.  

Modification

Answered 5 months ago by attorney Heather Cherepkai   |   1 Answer   |  Legal Topics: Family Law
There is a subsantial change that has occurred by the incarceration of the child's father.  You can request a modification in the final judgment to change the time-sharing upon his release, especially if it is based upon a drugs or violence and not just stability.  The court will look at the best interest of your son in determining if any restrictions should be placed on the father's access to your son.   Due to the time it can take for the court to resolve the case, you would want to act as soon as possible, otherwise the father will be out of incarceration and thus you may waste time and money if you wait too long. ... Read More
There is a subsantial change that has occurred by the incarceration of the child's father.  You can request a modification in the final judgment... Read More

can the father of my son keep me away from him?

Answered 5 months ago by attorney David B. Mitchell   |   1 Answer   |  Legal Topics: Family Law
I am sorry your son was ill or injured and required a hospital stay. I trust he has recovered to the point where he is now released. You didn't say if you were married to the father of your son, but for purposes of this response I am going to assume you are not as you did not refer to the father as your husband. You wrote that your son is living with his father and both are living with his parents. You would like to see your son but apparently the father is not allowing you to do so. I am not sure how old is your son but am assuming he is quite young. I am also assuming that you are a Florida resident as is the father and his parents, and that your son has lived in Florida for the preceding six months. All that said, if  the paternity of the father has not been established, you need to do so by filing a petition to establish paternity in the Circuit Court covering the county where the boy lives. The court in the paternity case will determine several issues that will help you: First, the court will determine that the father is the legal/biological father of your son. Second, it will establish that both you and the father have joint decision-making rights regarding your son, which include medical care, education, etc. Third, the court will order a timesharing (visitation) schedule for both you and the father. This will set when you can see you son, have your son stay overnight with you, and the like. Fourth, the court will set child support which is determined by your income, that of the father, and the amount of overnight timesharing each of you has with the boy.  The key criterion the court will use for the second and third issues (joint decision-making and timesharing) is to determine what is in the best interest of your son. Once these rights and obligations are established by the court, you can enforce your right to see your son. Best wishes to you. - David B. Mitchell, Esq.  ... Read More
I am sorry your son was ill or injured and required a hospital stay. I trust he has recovered to the point where he is now released. You didn't say... Read More
If there is no court order stating who has what children and where they are to reside, you would have every right to go get them.  If there is a court order in place, you will have to reopen that case for change of residential placement. 
If there is no court order stating who has what children and where they are to reside, you would have every right to go get them.  If there is a... Read More
Your problem is very common in our mobile society. I am sorry that your spirit of cooperation with your ex’s work schedule changes has not been reciprocated now when you need it. (Note that in Florida, ‘visitation’ is now called ‘timesharing’. Same idea, new term.) Your schedule change and the suggestion you have offered -holidays and summers visitation only, down from three weekends per month- will result in a significant drop in your visitation time and possibly result in higher child support. Child support is calculated in part on the amount of overnight visits your children have with you. Here are some suggestions for you: First, do not sacrifice your job over this issue. You are correct that it is the source of income for both your child support and your new family as well. Second, you should contact a qualified parenting coordinator to see if you and your ex can work with the parenting coordinator to craft a new visitation arrangement that will offer you more than just ‘holidays and summer’ until your work schedule is more accommodating. Alternatively, if you cannot find a qualified parenting coordinator then locate a certified family mediator to meet with both of you as a neutral and see if a new arrangement can be drafted for approval by the court.  If all of those options just will not be feasible, you can return to court for a new arrangement, but this is the least desirable and likely most expensive option.  Your kids need a devoted dad like you, and you should not give up. Good luck!  ... Read More
Your problem is very common in our mobile society. I am sorry that your spirit of cooperation with your ex’s work schedule changes has not been... Read More
I am sorry you have been caught up in a legal quagmire but perhaps I can help.  I am not sure if your child support obligaiton was created in the Family Division of the Circuit Court or the Child Support Enforcement Divison through the Florida Department of Revenue, which is an administrative court procedure.  Not to be too technical, but it can make a difference in how you proceed. Your ex-wife's refund is most unusual and I applaud her honesty! I also understand that the arrears shown on your record is now cleared.  Here is what I would recommend: The court (or administrative law judge) has ordered bi-weekly payments. Take your monthly child support amount and break it down into bi-weekly payments. Bi-weekly means that the monthly amount times twelve months (for one year) is divided into 26 equal parts, as opposed to bi-monthly which is twice a month, or 24 equal payments made per year.  Pay the bi-weekly amount every other week. No more, no less. From what you said, that is what the court (or administrative law judge) has ordered. There is no need for you to "pay extra" each month. Concerning your last quesiton about how to consider any 'extra' that you pay each month, I am assuming that you are paying your support through the Florida State Disbursement Unit ('SDU') in Tallahassee, which is standard. If so, your record at SDU will show a surplus that you are carrying. I am not sure if the SDU is sending that to your ex-wife along with your bi-weekly child support check or just carrying it forward on its books. You should contact the SDU and ask for a copy of your paymnt history printout. This will tell you if the SDU is sending the money to your ex-wife (and another refund check is in order) or if it is just being 'banked' by SDU. If banked, you can ask the SDU how to reduce/eliminate the surplus. Contact SDU at P.O. Box 8030, Tallahassee 32399 or at (800) 622-5437 (but I would expect lots of phone delays).   I hope this helps.          ... Read More
I am sorry you have been caught up in a legal quagmire but perhaps I can help.  I am not sure if your child support obligaiton was created in... Read More